San Francisco kidnap attempt leaves father in shock, possibly homeless woman arrested

The father of a 22-month-old boy who was subjected to a kidnapping attempt in San Francisco Wednesday spoke with KTVU about the ordeal.

It happened on Lake Street near Arguello in the Inner Richmond neighborhood.

The boy and his nanny were waiting to pick up his 3-and a half-year-old sister from preschool around 3 p.m.

Bryant Chou said he was shocked by what happened but grateful that the children are safe.

"It's pretty brazen for this woman to come out of nowhere and snatch my son," Chou said. His son was standing near his nanny and her 6-month-old son who was in a stroller.

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"A woman came and grabbed my youngest son and started taking off with him and started running away with him in her arms," he said. 

Chou said the nanny chased after the woman, caught up with her about a half-block away and managed to get Chou's son back.

But the ordeal didn't end there.

"This woman sprinted toward the stroller where our nanny's child was and attempted to yank the child out of the stroller and tried to take off with the 6-month-old baby," Chou said other parents saw what was happening and scared the woman off.

He said one parent followed her as she ran off on foot and helped police track her down.

The woman was arrested.

Chou said the woman may be homeless and has mental health issues.

He said police told him this was not the woman's first kidnapping attempt.

"It's a warning to really start focusing on helping the mentally ill, the homeless and transients around the neighborhood," said Benton Schoenwalk, the father of a six-month-old daughter.

Parents in the area said it's a reminder to be alert.

"Holding my child's hand as we cross the street as we're in and out. That's just really important," said Rachel Gannon, a parent who was picking up her son from the preschool.

"It could have easily been the worse day of our lives by far. Thankfully, nothing terrible happened," said Chou.

Police have identified the woman as 42-year-old Erin Williams of Sebastopol.

She's being held at San Francisco County Jail.

Williams faces kidnapping and child endangerment charges.